Review Of Current Status Of Knowledge Epidemiology

Little research has been conducted on the prevalence of FSAD. A recent review by Simons and Carey (17) estimated the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in the population based on all prevalence studies that have appeared in the 1990s. Although 52 studies have been conducted in that decade, most studies lack sufficient methodological rigor. Only a handful of studies have used unambiguous criteria for assessing female sexual dysfunction. The frequently cited study by Laumann et al. (18) for instance, yielded an overall female sexual dysfunction prevalence figure of 43%. The study was done in a large, representative sample, but the prevalence figure was based on an affirmative response to one of seven sexual complaints. On the basis of simple yes/no answers to a problem area it cannot be established whether one is suffering from a sexual dysfunction or whether one is experiencing common sexual difficulties (19). Besides, recent studies show that even when psychometrically sound assessment techniques are used, prevalence figures of the occurrence of sexual dysfunctions are much higher than prevalence figures of the occurrence of sexual dysfunctions that cause personal or interpersonal distress (20-22). Simons and Carey therefore conclude that for most female sexual dysfunctions, stable community estimates of the current prevalence are unavailable. Only for female orgasmic disorder reliable community prevalence estimates were obtained, ranging from 7 to 10%. Given the difficulties in differentiating between FSAD and female orgasmic disorder (FOD), as will be discussed subsequently, this may be a reasonable estimate for FSAD as well.

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